It hit me first on the forearm of a sophisticated-looking fella with an accent (francais, peut-etre?), who spotted me fumbling with my iPhone subway app trying to figure out whether I needed to transfer from an express to a local. I noticed the tattooed script on his arm as he directed me to stay put. “No need to change trains madam, this one will get you where you need to go.”
The second message stared back at me in the form of a large brick building mural across the street from a laundromat in Hell’s Kitchen. I was sweltering on a bench near a wall of hot, coin-operated washers and dryers in the non-air conditioned room counting the minutes left on my machine. Willing my load of sweaty yoga clothes to hurry up and finish already so I could make it to tomorrow’s class without dying in here first. But a glance beyond the door across the street sent a powerful message: Keep Calm and Carry On.
My self-navigated trek from Manhattan to Brooklyn on a workday morning was equal parts adventure and chaos (woo hoo! I didn’t f*** up the transfer from the A to L)! But being sandwiched between bodies in a metal cylinder Lord knows how many feet below ground wasn’t my idea of quiet bliss either. That’s when the message hit me a third time. A young woman sat calm and still with a small smile on her face as she read down a few paragraphs of her novel. In between the pages rested a book mark in large red font reading: Keep Calm and Carry On.
That’s three times in 24 hours I received this message. Coincidence or not, I paid attention. And as I settle back into my corner of Philaburbia after a stimulating week in the city, I am reminded to keep calm and carry on no matter what circumstances arise.